Communication and Conflict in Marriage

Photo of a married couple talking to eahc other on the couch as a model of communication and conflict in marriagel
Don't fear the conflict in your marriage. Conflict is actually a key component of communication. Use it to the benefit of your marriage.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19

You’ve heard the age-old relationship advice, “communication is key,” or the idea that conflict in marriage can be avoided with better communication. While these statements are partially true, they do not show the full picture. Communication is not the “good one,” and conflict is not the “bad one.” When done right, communication and conflict in a Christian marriage go hand-in-hand to allow you deeper access to your spouse’s heart and mind.

The Standard of Communication

As men and women, our differences go beyond the obvious physical ones. We think differently and respond differently, and different things catch our hearts. However, we often ignore that fact and plow through life with our perceptions of how others should live and respond. The harvest of that mentality can be misunderstanding, resentment, and alienation.

As Christians, God calls us to be attentive to one another in marriage — to stop, listen, and learn about each other through communication. If we truly desire closeness, we must be willing to ask and reveal. We can learn much about one another by how we live, but there are also things that words can give life and understanding to.

The Hurdles of Conflict

Conflict is inevitable even as Christians, and we often come in touch with the deep places and real meanings of our feelings. It is often only through times of discord that we can identify and offer the deepest content of our hearts. What we must remember in these moments is that our spouse is not the enemy.

It sounds odd, but couples often come at each other from that very stance.

We may speak painful and damaging words in conflict and allow anger to isolate us without active, intentional listening. But you may never know your spouse’s true feelings and desires without conflict. As long as you agree, you are on the same team and not fighting each other, you can use conflict to your benefit. Both communication and healthy conflict in marriage can help you truly know your spouse.

Consider James’ words: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” What a compelling picture of a relationship! Think about its application to communication in a Christian marriage. When we look at one another in marriage, then our hearts are more likely to respond in attentive tenderness. We realize this is just the person we need to help us become who God has made us to be.

A Prayer for Open Communication in Marriage

“Father, You communicated Your love to us by sending Jesus to live and die for us.

You bring us together in marriage, we who are so very different.. You call us to communicate with one another the very love we receive from You.

Teach us, Father, how to do that in a way that honors each other and glorifies You. Teach us to pay attention to and wisely use communication and conflict in our marriage.

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